The Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a step change in the identification of and response to domestic abuse by public sector agencies, and set in motion a cultural shift in the way that our communities recognise and react to survivors

Monday, 29th May 2017

Women’s Aid has lobbied for the creation of a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner to oversee both the letter and the spirit of the Bill and to monitor how statutory agencies are working towards ensuring women and children can stay safely in their homes, including both the provision and the commissioning of services.

Women’s Aid believes that in order to grasp this opportunity we should also ensure women and children can be safe in their own homes with a more robust response to domestic abuse, triggered earlier, and ensuring both control of the perpetrator and a route to support for victims and their children.   Further, we must also remove the power of perpetrators through agencies taking a determined and robust approach to stopping perpetrators from causing more harm.   Limiting the space for action of the perpetrator is essential for increasing the space for action of the victim and her children.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid said:
“An improved response to domestic violence is not all about the criminal justice system, and all parties need to look beyond this.  If the Commissioner is truly independent and has the power to hold all agencies at local level to account, however, this could be a very positive way forward.  One of the most frightening obstacles survivors of domestic violence face is the sheer ignorance of local public services, like councils, the health service and others, and their unwillingness to treat domestic violence as the crisis it really is. At the moment, local services are being decimated and both early intervention and long-term support are virtually non-existent. A new Domestic Violence Bill will also be welcomed if it ensures an end to a situation where women and children too often must flee for their lives while perpetrators walk free and continue attempts at coercive control through the family courts.”

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